What is Evusheld?
Evusheld is an antibody treatment developed for the pre-exposure prevention of Covid-19, sometimes referred to as pre-exposure prophylaxis. This means it is given to patients before they are exposed to the virus in order to prevent them from contracting Covid-19 if they are exposed to it. It is a combination of two long-lasting antibodies: tixagevimab and cilgavimab.
Antibodies are produced by the human body’s immune system following an infection like Covid-19 to help fight the virus. Antibody treatments are developed by selecting the antibodies best at killing the virus and working out how to manufacture them in the laboratory.
The Evusheld treatment was developed and produced by the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.
Antibody treatments are not a replacement for vaccination.
Does it prevent Covid?
Studies of Evusheld have found that it can reduce the risk of people developing or becoming seriously ill from Covid. However, these studies were done when a different variant was the most common variant circulating in the UK. Now, a slightly different variant is circulating and it is less clear how well Evusheld protects people against this variant.
Is Evusheld available in the UK?
The MHRA gave conditional approval for the use of Evusheld to prevent Covid in people whose immune response is poor in March 2022. However, MHRA approval does not mean the treatment has been approved for use in the NHS. The Government has yet to make a decision about whether to procure the treatment and make it available on the NHS.
The UKHSA (UK Health Security Agency) has been testing how well Evusheld protects against the Omicron variant. The data gathered will be considered by expert clinical groups with other available information, which will inform any potential decisions to purchase and make the drug available.
We understand that this is frustrating for people who remain at higher risk from Covid and Kidney Care UK have been urging Government to prioritise the development of treatments that can offer protection against the virus.
Which kidney patients might be able to access Evusheld or other preventative treatments?
This will depend on the results of the analysis of the treatment. Medical colleagues have advised preventative treatments may be most beneficial for people who have not produced antibodies in response to vaccination, and this relatively small group could be identified through antibody testing by clinical teams. However, final decisions about which patient groups may be able to access Evusheld will be decided by NHS policy makers.
Are any other protective treatments in the pipeline?
A trial called PROTECT-V is evaluating the benefits of treatments that may prevent Covid, including a nasal spray called Niclosamide. They will also be adding the monoclonal antibody sotrivomab and another drug, ciclesonide, to the clinical trial.
Can I buy Evusheld?
We understand that Evusheld is not currently available to purchase privately or through the NHS.
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